Fairmont Private Schools’ campuses put Character Counts into practice in the weeks following Hurricane Harvey. All four campuses each put their own unique take on fundraising and partnering with schools in the Houston area.
Fundraising for hurricane relief efforts kicked off at our Anaheim Hills Campus, whose two 6th grade Girl Scout troops jumped into action hosting a clothing drive for Houston families. The hurricane’s Houston aftermath, though roughly 1,500 miles away, hit close to home for one Anaheim Hills Campus parent, Madhavi Uppal, who had family in the area. Forced to evacuate from flooding, some of their family members lost everything.
“My heart went out to them; I needed to help,” Uppal said.
The personal connection led Uppal to lead the charge in collecting donations for hurricane relief in Houston.
“With the help of [fellow Anaheim Hills Campus parent] Ms. Sonya Mai, I had a meeting with Dr. Rafferty and other Fairmont key administrators,” Uppal explained. “They assured me that I had their full support in organizing a clothing drive.”
The troops set to work collecting clothing, diapers, towels, blankets, and other necessities. The collective effort took place within three days in order to ship items quickly to Texas.
“The Anaheim Hills Campus really put those three days to good use,” Mai said. “The campus outpouring was astonishing. Blankets, toys, shoes — everything on the wish list was donated.”
The drive was a success with the campus sending an estimated 70 bags worth of desperately needed items to Houston.
“We had an incredible turnout,” Uppal said. “The generosity was truly overwhelming.”
Other Fairmont campuses joined the cause in the days following. Fairmont Preparatory Academy and Fairmont’s Historic Anaheim Campus adopted classrooms at Texas schools affected by the hurricane. Fairmont Prep families and faculty donated 211 copies of the book Night by Elie Wiesel to their partnered 10th grade English class at Cypress Park High School, while Fairmont’s Historic Anaheim Campus collected donations and clothing for a 5th grade classroom at Dogwood Elementary School.
Fourth-grade teacher Joycelyn Sun led the drive at the Historic Anaheim Campus, who was looking for a tangible way to assist Houston area teachers.
“We received an overwhelming response and collected over $2,000 in elementary and junior high combined,” Sun reported. “As for clothing, we have over 20 bags that were donated. Some students even write letters to the students of this class.”
Though many students at our campuses were not personally affected by the hurricane, hosting fundraisers for those in need, no matter their distance, has taught vital life lessons to the students while opening up the opportunity for discussion.“Students saw value in this because they were able to give to a cause that relates to them,” Sun said. “In class, I talked to my students about putting themselves in the shoes of these students and having no home, clothes, and school supplies to start the school year.”
The National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) organization at Fairmont’s North Tustin Campus recognized this hardship. In less than a week following Hurricane Irma, the NJHS students rallied their community and hosted a root beer float sale to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Irma. The sale raised more than $1,200 in sales and donations for the Salvation Army.
Though these fundraisers and clothing drives have ended, help can still be given. Anna Kunkle, Fairmont Prep’s Community Service Coordinator, encourages students and families to still donate books to Cypress Park High School’s 10th grade English class. The book list can be found above and can be purchased from Barnes & Noble using bookfair ID: 12213617 at checkout. Mrs. Kunkle may also be emailed for more information. You can also follow the example of our North Tustin Campus NJHS and donate directly to the Salvation Army.